What is a Children’s Advocacy Center?
A Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is woven and tied together by community agencies and professionals. The team works together to reduce the trauma that victims experience, and enhance the ability to respond to child maltreatment. CACs provide hope and healing to victims and their families.
All CACs embrace fundamental elements that make up the ten National Children’s Alliance (NCA) Standards for Accredited Members. Seven core disciplines form a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) to lead investigations with efficiency. MDT members and CAC staff provide services to victims and non-offending family members at child-friendly facilities.
CACs utilize a joint investigative approach where information can flow seamlessly among the professionals who need it. CACs assist families by helping them understand the system, and refer them to needed resources and services. CACs help children cope with the trauma of abuse and/or witnessing abuse and move toward healing.
In many ways, a CAC is like a quilt bringing together individual pieces to form a source of comfort for victims and the families from beginning to end.